Before Dawn (1933)

Passed  |   |  Drama, Mystery  |  4 August 1933 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 149 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 4 critic

Sinister forces compete to find the million dollars in gold hidden by recently deceased gangster Joe Valerie in his family's old dark house 15 years earlier,



(screen play), (from the story by), 2 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Dorothy Wilson ...
Dudley Digges ...
Horace Merrick
Gertrude Hoffman ...
Mattie (as Gertrude W. Hoffman)
Oscar Apfel ...
Joe Valerie
Mrs. Marble


Joe Valerie stashed a million dollars in gold from a robbery 15 years earlier. Now that he lay dying a painful death, he trades the location of the money to Dr. Cornelius for a shot to end his suffering. When Mrs. Marble reads about the death of Joe, she wants to spend the money, but the ghost of Joe causes her to fall down the stairs ending her life. When the police show up, they are not sure if it is murder of not, so they enlist Dr. Cornelius and clairvoyant Patricia to help solve the case. But everyone, except Mattie and Patricia, is looking for the loot and not the ghost of Joe Valerie. Written by Tony Fontana <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Mystery


Passed | See all certifications »





Release Date:

4 August 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Antes del amanecer  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Working title: "Death Watch" See more »


Horace Merrick: A man might make many compromises with his integrity for... ah... oh... say... a half million dollars.
See more »


The Wedding March
(1843) (uncredited)
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61"
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
In the score at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

good story
14 May 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The dying Joe Valerie tells a psychiatrist (Warner Oland) that he has hidden a million dollars in gold from a robbery committed years before. He offers the location of the gold in exchange for the doctor ending his life.

The gold is in the house being guarded by two elderly women. One is Mrs. Marble (Jane Darwell). She reads of Valerie's death and intends to take the money and leave. But Joe's ghost appears to her and as a result, she falls down the stairs and dies.

The police aren't sure what happened. At the urging of the officer in charge of arresting fake clairvoyants (Stuart Erwin), they use Patricia, who is actually a real clairvoyant, to tell them what happened.

This was a lot of fun, with young Dorothy Wilson as the clairvoyant and Dudley Digges as her father. Stuart Erwin had a pleasant screen personality used to good advantage here, and Warner Oland, who would become one of the Charlie Chans, is quite different here.

For me the most fascinating thing about the film is that as of this writing, it's 81 years old. Everything in the world has changed, everyone in this film is long gone, and people are still watching the movie.

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